Capitol Insider

Action Alert

Thank You for Acting to Protect SSDI!

Recent Major Events

Social Security – House Rules for 114th Congress Include Harmful Social
Security Provision

Last week, the House of Representatives adopted its rules of procedure for the
114th Congress (H. Res. 5). Included in the measure was an unprecedented
Social Security-related provision that will affect the ability of Congress to prevent
a 20% cut in Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits in 2016. The
provision, inserted by Representative Sam Johnson (R-TX) and Tom Reed
(R-NY) and approved by a vote of 234 to 168, sets up procedural hurdles to
House consideration of a needed, routine replenishment of Social Security’s
disability fund.  Shockingly, these major changes were never considered in
hearings or open to input from constituents. While these rules only affect the
House – not the Senate – The Arc is deeply concerned that this new provision
sets a troubling tone for how the 114th Congress may deal with Social Security
and SSDI. Visit The Arc’s blog to learn more about the House rules provision.
Medicaid – 50th Anniversary of Medicare and Medicaid Commemorated in
the Senate

Last week, Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), along with 44 colleagues, introduced
“A resolution commemorating 50 years since the creation of the Medicare and
Medicaid Programs,” S.R. 25.  In his introductory remarks, Senator Wyden
recalled the historical importance of these programs to people, including those
with disabilities, stating “Medicare and Medicaid were bipartisan efforts, and the
enactment of these programs shows that Congress can craft bipartisan solutions
to complex problems. As this new Congress begins, I hope we can use that 50-
year-old spirit to strengthen, protect, and improve Medicare and Medicaid to
keep that guarantee strong, ensure health care to those who need it most, and
protect a program that has been a lifeline to millions of Americans.”

Employment – Fair Wages for Workers with Disabilities Act Introduced

Last week, Congressman Gregg Harper (R-MS), introduced H.R. 188, Fair
Wages for Workers with Disabilities Act of 2015. The bill aims to phase out
special wage certificates [Section 14(c)] under the Fair Labor Standards Act of
1938, under which individuals with disabilities may be employed at subminimum
wage rates, by discontinuing the issuing of such certificates upon enactment;
transitioning entities holding such certificates within three years; and repealing
the relevant section of the Fair Labor Standard Act three years after enactment.
The bill was referred to the House Education and the Workforce Committee with
one co-sponsor, Representative Gus Bilirakis (R-FL).  An identical bill, the Fair
Wages for Workers with Disabilities Act of 2013 (H.R. 831), introduced by
Congressman Harper in 2013, died at the end of the 113th Congress with 97

Employment – Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act Advisory
Committee Named

Last week, the Department of Labor announced the members of the Advisory
Committee on Increasing Competitive Integrated Employment for Individuals with
Disabilities, which was mandated by Section 609 of the Workforce Innovation and
Opportunity Act
signed into law last year. David Mank, PhD, member of the Policy
and Positions committee of The Arc of the US, was appointed as one of the 17
committee members.  Dr. Mank, professor in the School of Education at Indiana
University, serves as the director of the Indiana Institute on Disability and
Community, Indiana’s university center for excellence for developmental
disabilities. Dr. Mank is an expert in education and employment of people with
I/DD and was a recipient of the Franklin Smith Award for National Distinguished
Service from The Arc of the United States.  The first meeting of the Committee
will be held later this month.

Employment – Amendment to the Fair Labor Standards Act in the Home
Care Final Rule Struck Down

On December 22, 2014, in Home Care Association of America v. Weil, Civil Action
No. 14-967 (D.D.C.), D.C. District Court Judge Richard Leon struck down the
amendment to the Fair Labor Standards Act in the Home Care Final Rule which
disallows third party employers of home care workers to exempt workers who
provide companionship services from overtime compensat ion.  On December
31, 2014, Judge Leon issued a temporary restraining order staying the revised
definition of companionship until January 15, 2015, in order to consider plaintiffs’
motion.  On January 8, 2014, Judge Leon consolidated the two issues to be
considered at a hearing which took place on Friday, January 9, 2015.  Another
hearing to inform the parties of his decision will be held on Wednesday, January
14, 2015.  The Department of Labor continues to support its rule and is in
opposition to the plaintiff’s motion.

Upcoming Major Events

Employment – Upcoming Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act

According to a recent Q&A document on the Department of Labor’s website, the
Departments of Labor and Education plan to concurrently publish five Notices of
Proposed Rulemaking (NPRMs) to implement the Workforce Innovation and
Opportunity Act (WIOA) in the spring of 2015, and anticipate issuing Final Rules
in early 2016.  Because many provisions of WIOA go into effect July 1, 2015,
operating guidance and technical assistance will be issued in the spring of 2015
to support implementation.  Once issued, these materials can be accessed at


Marchand Internship – Application for Summer 2015 Session Due on
February 15

The Paul Marchand Internship Fund will provide $3,000 per semester or
summer session to assist interns interested in pursuing careers in public policy
advocacy for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD).  See
Application information and Internship FAQs for more information.  For 38 years,
Paul Marchand was a dedicated disability policy advo cate and recognized leader
working on behalf of people I/DD and the larger disability community. Upon his
retirement in 2011, The Arc, with substantial contributions from United Cerebral
Palsy, other organizations, and individuals with whom Paul worked during his
decades in Washington, established an internship to honor Paul and to continue
to cultivate disability policy advocates.

Tony Paulauski
Executive Director
The Arc of Illinois
20901 S. LaGrange Rd. Suite 209
Frankfort, IL 60423
815-464-1832 (OFFICE)
815-464-1832 (CELL)